I have to start this off with my initial thoughts on symposiums and conferences. I used to think it was all a bunch of rah-rah. I’d come home from the event super pumped and then slowly deflate from there. I never took advantage and rode the wave of motivation – until this past symposium.
I heard about the Office Depot Foundation Women’s Symposium through a friend and being newly in the entrepreneurial world, I decided to invest in myself and signed up to go. Yesterday, I woke up late and scrambled to get dressed and out the door. Arriving at the event, I was apprehensive as to how the day was going to unfold and a bit nervous to put myself out there and mingle with other business women. I pulled up my big girl panties and jumped right in, and I am very glad I did.
Speaker after speaker reinforced my decision to branch out and start my own marketing firm. I learned about different business plans other than the one I had fabricated in my mind that wasn’t working as well as I wished. I met some powerful and super nice like-minded women who were also putting themselves out there to learn and network. As I sat there with my cup of peppermint tea, I felt at ease. I was with my new “tribe”.
I listened to one of my favorite authors, Jen Lancaster (Bitter is the New Black), explain her trials and tribulations that got her to where she is now – a New York Times Best Seller writer! (I also scored an autographed book!)
The last portion of the event was speed networking and it really forced me to come out of my shell. I consider myself friendly and love to talk, but this required me giving a 90 second pitch of what I do and then also telling what I need to make my business grow. I was a bit flustered at first, but what did I have to lose? I stumbled the first time, but once I was done I felt so powerful (not like She-Ra powerful, but you know what I mean…). I put myself out there. I told strangers about my business. It took my to a whole new level – I’ve been thankful for finding clients through word of mouth but now I was gaining a great reception from people I didn’t know!
I can’t tell you how much this once noted “rah-rah” type of event has really pumped me up to bring my business to the next level. As I type this it is a weekend day, but I want to call all of my new-found prospects and chat with them one-on-one. I want to revel in the excitement that this symposium has infused in me.
In the meantime (until Monday morning comes along), I decided to make a checklist of items you will need, both physical and mental, to be fully prepared for the next conference you go to.